Casting News Speculation The Mountain

The new directors

The big press release has brought not only a ton of new actors to fill the better half of the remaining roles in season one, but new director names as well. First, we have series directors Daniel Minahan and Alan Taylor. It is as of yet unknown what episodes they are going to be in charge of. Second, there are two directors of photography that we have not yet heard about in connection with Thrones, Marco Pontecorvo and Alik Sakharov. They are trusted HBO veterans, the lot of them.

Minahan signed under a number of episodes of Six Feet Under, Deadwood, John from Cincinnati, and True Blood, plus has some non-HBO credits on the side, naturally. Taylor’s resume reads similarly only longer, with Oz, Six Feet Under, Sex and the City, Carnivale, Deadwood, The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire, In Treatment, Bored to Death on HBO, as well as episodes of Lost and Mad Men. He won an Emmy in 2007 for The Sopranos.

Pontecorvo and Sakharov are both of foreign stock. Marco Pontecorvo was born in Italy as son of the director Gillo Pontecorvo. His has worked mostly as the director of photography on Italian projects, but also on some international productions. Most notably on Rome (9 episodes) shot in the Cinecitta studios in Rome, Italy, which is apparently when and where his connection to HBO was established. They must have liked his work. Alik Sakharov is originally from Tashkent in the former USSR, now Uzbekistan, but has started and established his career in the U.S. He directed an episode of Rome and had a role in one episode of The Sopranos. His main body of work, however, has been done as the director of photography, again the great majority of it on big HBO titles: Sex and the City, Rome (9 episodes), The Sopranos (38! episodes). Sakharov won an Emmy in 2007 for cinematography on Rome.

In addition, here are some extra tidbits:

  • Northern Ireland Screen published an urgent call for male riders with dark complexion, surely for Dothraki. An open casting is to be held on July 21st. On a related note, Extras NI has sent around an e-mail looking for a under-5ft tall stand-in who would be available for the period of the next five months. A likely reason is that they need someone to be the stand-in for Peter Dinklage on the show.
  • The fact sheet officially confirms Conan Stevens as Gregor Clegane. No more leaked names still waiting to sign the contract, then. On the other hand, the announcement fails to list Iain McNeice as Magister Illyrio Mopatis. The speculation is that his is the minor role not from the prologue which may need to be recast according to GRRM.
  • Something that may have been lost in the excitement of all the casting news of the fact sheet is the revelation that they will no longer be filming in Morocco, but have added Malta as a location. Malta seems like a good choice as it’s mix of European, Mediterranean and African architecture should provide for a diverse set of Westeros backdrops. If they do reshoot the Dany scenes here, it could make a good Pentos.

Hear Me Roar: These directors share an great big deal of experience between them, and are trusted names of HBO productions. Based on their previos record, they are sure to bring the deserved quality to Game of Thrones as well. Can you find your favourite episodes of HBO shows among their work? When it comes to McNeice, I hope they find some way to bring him back, he only appears in a few scenes.

UPDATE: You can find lots of great photos of possible filming locations on Malta here.


  • Well, I'm not too chuffed with Minahan: his direction is dull and inspired. Can't say I know much of the other guys work though. Hopefully the script will be hard to mess up!

  • "Can you find your favourite episodes of HBO shows among their work?"

    Absolutely. Minahan directed "Ecotone", a beautiful and crucial episode of Six Feet Under; the series finale of John from Cincinnati (with an astoundingly shot opening scene); and "The Two Headed Beast" of Deadwood, which I coincidentally rewatched only two days ago, and which has the most gruesome fight scene I've ever seen on TV. One of the best episodes of the show, and very strong directing.

    As for Alan Taylor, a very good episode of Carnivále, the great 1st season finale of Rome, and "The Mountain King" of Mad Men, a little different episode visually from the show's usual template.

    • *SPOILER*

      The 1st season finale of Rome "Kalends of February" is truly an epic. I'm really hoping they will use Taylor for that one groundbreaking episode that will happen in King's Landing.


    • Interesting that we disagree so much! TBH I am mainly commenting on his True Blood episodes which were not great and the soporific Life on Mars ep. I will give you that he can direct beautiful and moving conversations well, so maybe I'm being a little harsh, especially as neither shows are my fave to begin with…

  • Whoa… Hear Me Roar… you need to make a thumbnail of that Malta image that isn't 7,230px × 1,510px.

    That image is like 10mb and it's slowing down the whole main page.

    • You don't need a mac to listen those songs.

      I keep hoping that the show wouldn't have score at all. Do it like The Wire. Audience hears only the songs and music the characters hear.

      • Tried it on pc a few times and it only played one of the songs. It's been a long time though.

        • Just to clarify; The only song I could hear when I used a pc, was "Angkor Wat". Wich is also good but doesn't fit for the series as much as "Le chene et le rousseau". In my humble opinion, that Is.:-)
          Anyway, it starts with a classic guitar, then a violin falls in and swells up towards the end. (just in case). Maybe the right plugin wasn't installed.

  • So many news, I am exhausted!
    La Valeta has a lot of history, they deserve the supermegafantastic pic, fighting against turks with spanish help… second world war with the british, allies…

  • I love you George Martin – AsoiaF has made my life worth living! Seriously. Whoa. I wish I could write like that. (hey, other people worship rockstars, I’m an author fangirl!)

    Oh wait, I was supposed to be leaving a comment about the directors here. *cough* Wondrous. It is known.

  • wait. why are they not going to shoot in morocco? when did they decide this? and where are they going to get the proper landscapes to do the dany story arc? is malta known for it's vast empty, barren landscapes?

  • OT – when they start filming on 26th July – is that the re-shoot of the pilot they'll be doing ?

      • Common sense. if that is a factor in film production, would indicate that shooting in wintry forests for the prologue would best be done late in the shooting season to get defoliate trees.